Cargo cults, a case study.

Saturday, 16 July, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Motto : And in other wtf, anglos write nation and notion but nevertheless say na/ʃ/ioni and no/ʃ/ion. Because NOT ONLY do they have the Romanian ț and ș, which they don't bother to write down, but they also do the ț -> ș conversion like a buncha Southern idiot plainsdwellersii. Romanian also spells "nation" and "notion", but reads it like orcs once removed, na/t͡s/ion, no/t͡s/ion.iii Fucking Welschersiv do it like orcs twice removed, /ʃ/ directly. Similarly Argentines don't read ll/y properly, but as /ʃ/ instead. Hence /saˈkate la moˈʧiʃa/ instead of the god given /saˈkate la moˈʧiʎa/. As phf can no doubt tell you, only orcs vocalize /ʎ/ as /ʃ/. Of the worst kind, too.

But let us inquire into human idiocy through the mediation of artefacts. First off, the introduction : Argentina is a place which flatters itself climatically. There's two kinds of such places, those that flatter themselves with the notion that they don't need cooling (such as, say, Romania) ; and those that flatter themselves with the notion that they don't need heating (such as, say, Costa Ricav). Here, notwithstanding all the women go around wrapped up to the eyes for the interval temperatures go as low as about 11, nevertheless they don't perceive the mandatory requirement of the water heater and pump device with attached radiators in the house. Because why the fuck would they. Instead, I've seen actual open-air gas burners, attached to walls. Imagine that

So what do they do, then ? Oh, I'll tell you what : estufa!

This estufa is a highly stylisized religious artefact, which we shall now proceed to document. Here's an example from the late 70s :


Yes, it's an electric heater.vii Not depicted above, the actual heating elements. They're constantanviii springs encased in a glass tube with some chalk on the inside walls.

This item is, as the following illustrations will attest, entirely standardized here. It's not that you can buy "anything you want" - in soviet countries the butcher's is where they don't have meat, not where they don't have fish, and consequently if you're buying a heater, you are buying THIS heater. It costs 450 pesos (about 30 bucks) ; it consists of two vertical tubes. It does about 2KW. It may have one or two switches or whatever, be rounder or edgier, but the thing you get is the thing you get, always universally everywhere the same.

Yet you can't buy just the elements. You understand me ? Notwithstanding that they are connected into the item electrically through blade connectors, the world's most obvious invitation to service an item. Notwithstanding that the whole thing's clearly made to readily and easily replace the heating elements themselves. You can not buy these things, at any one of the (entirely identical) hundred+ shops I inquired. You can however buy the whole thing. It's 450 pesos. Everyone knows.

Here you go :


Check out the smart, sleek form factor on this one!


And the burn damage.



Pretty impressive, wouldn't you say ? Progreso y independencia por siempre!

Yet, while a soviet country, Argentina isn't actually under soviet repression, I hear you think. What exactly could prevent an entreprising fellow with capitalist worldviews from approaching the problem earnestly, solving it correctly and then dissolving the idiots around him until eventually sanity emerges! Not like there's the Militsiya to beat him up for doing well for himself, the Pilitsiya can barely stand up let alone go anywhere on its own locomotive power.

Oh, of course, why didn't I think of that! Right you are. Here you go :


It's the same fucking item. But, mind you, 430 pesos. You understand the capitalism ? He shaved off a whole dollar from the pricetag of an item that's insanity in the first place. That will do it, the bihourly dollar the government shaves off the price of electricity so these things can run in the first place dun enter into it!ix

Same two elements, same position, same everything. He's replaced the screws by dubious metal clamping, and the zamac involved is visibly cheap and bends under its own weight. Not to mention the item is not properly insulatedx, and quite the fire hazard if set upon, say, synthetic carpeting (they, of course, include all sorts of cargo cultish nonsense about how to use the power plug). He's not engaging in technology, with a measurable, practical purpose. He's engaging in religion, which is to say art. These items are judged for conformity to an abstract ideal exactly in the manner Orthodox iconography is judged for conformity to an abstract ideal. Saint so-and-so must have head crooked so and so and carry a sword. Why ? Stfu, there is no why. That's why you have tradition! Which is why I said "religious artefact" earlier : that's exactly what it is. Maybe you or I warm ourselves through the workings of understood phenomena, scientifically described and technologically exploited. Not the Pilis, they partake in the grace of god through the correct incantations at the right shrines. Problem ?

This is what cargo cultism is, you see : memetic stupidity, inescapable for the aculturated. Even if they try. Especially if they try.

PS. To reiterate : no, I didn't select these. The suspicion is not unlike suspecting I select women so that their slits runs vertically, and if I weren't you'd be seeing porn with all sorts of gashes going all sorts of ways. No such thing, you understand me ?

  1. In yet-other-wtf, apparently it's not directly obvious that / is a non-wordwrappable character when used in the manner used here. Fuck you, computers, now I gotta pre everything ?!

    No, strike that, I can't add <pre> tags because those create new paragraphs automatically because why the fuck not and fuck you computers! []

  2. Not even the bipedal sheep perambulating in Romania's national garbage dump, also known as "the Danube valley" take their scandalous troglodytism quite as far as that! []
  3. Really it's națiune, noțiune, but civilised, educated Romanians do not use the fucking "diacritics". See Intrebari despre limba care se scrie "cum se aude" ; Singura limba care ; Mitologie lingvistica and Sa ne agitam putin pe tema notatiei limbii romane for the basis on this topic ; see also Hai sa studiem gramatica impreuna on the topic of "civilised, educated people" in Romania (no, they don't exist, I left and that entirely emptied it). []
  4. Und ob mein Herz im Tode brich, wirst du doch drum ein Welscher nicht! []
  5. Yes, the weather is fucking lovely there, always eternally the same 20 to 22 degrees all year long and all day long. This nevertheless doesn't mean you don't need hot water, and since you need hot water you therefore necessarily need the proper water heating mechanism, which is a gas burning wall unit. Yes you may dispose with the water piping and radiator units dispersed through the home, if you will, because "no need to heat".

    You may not however dispose with the hot water pipes to everywhere there's a faucet, nor with the heater unit itself, nor with the gas pipes linking it to a gas plant etcetera. In short : the weather impacts under 1% of the cost of final infrastructure, whether it's in tropical Costa Rica or in Siberia, you still need most all of it anyway! Because that's what civilisation IS. []

  6. Do you know how to calculate how long before such a unit brings a room under the oxygen content that'd allow you to breathe ? Why, let us consider this problem together!

    So, caloric capacity of burning natural gas - which is always methane, by the way, while "GPL" is usually propane/butane mix. The difference between these is as follows : CH4 = methane ; C2H6 = ethane ; C3H8 = propane ; C4H10 = propane. The first is one Carbon atom with all its (four) valences taken up by Hydrogens ; the second is two Carbons, tied to each other, leaving three valences free per, which are taken up by Hydrogen. The penultimate is three Carbons, in a line, leaving two for the middle one and three each for the outliers, resulting in 8 Hydrogens captured. Finally butane is four carbons in a line, two with 3 Hydrogen each as the terminators, and two with two each in the middle. But for our purpose the difference is strictly this : that one mol (which is to say, for gasses under normal temperature and pressure, 22.4 liters) weighs 12 + 4 * 1 = 16 grams for methane, 4 * 12 + 10 * 1 = 58 grams for butane and 3 * 12 + 8 * 1 = 44 for propane. Because yes, this is why that "chemistry notation" doohickey even exists in the first place! It allows us to calculate the mass of a given volume of gas, and also to calculate the mass of the required reagent for an arbitrary reaction.

    Moving on : the caloric capacity of burning natural gas is about 40 MJ per cubic metre. Since natural gas burns as CH4 + 2 O2 => CO2 + 2 H2O, we know we'll need two cubic metres of pure oxygen (or about ten cubic meters of plain everyday air) for every cubic metre of natural gas we burn.

    Now from the other side : A room filled with air, of unspecified wall geometry or other properties, which nevertheless loses 1% of its heat differential per hour, should it be exposed to temperature differentials of 30 degrees (such as, by being immersed in the outside Winter, 10 below 0) will therefore leak energy over time. How much energy ? Well, the specific heat of air is about 1`000 (J/kg-K), so therefore every hour each kilogram of air will lose about 30 J or so.

    The stove will heat it right back up! Every time it burns a cubic centimetre's worth of gas (which is to say, two cubic centimeters worth of oxygen) it pumps 40 J into that kilogram of air. At the temperatures we're discussing, air density is about 1.2 kg/m3. Therefore as it comes out, every hour our house loses 36J per cubic metre, which is then recouped by burning gas, at the cost of 36 / 40 * 2 = 18 cubic centimeters of oxygen from that cubic metre of air.

    There's a total of 200k or so cc worth of oxygen in the air to begin with (supposing you just aired it, and you live in Oregon or something, with trees around) which we're burning at the rate of ~18 an hour to maintain temperature. Every day, the oxygen content of that air drops by half a %, and as it drops under 18% or so not only will the sickly start having trouble breathing, but the equation will have trouble balancing itself in the original form, and slowly turn towards a much more dangerous 2 CH4 + 3 O2 => 2 CO + 4 H2O.

    Known as "partial" (burning because it uses less oxygen per unit of gas - it was 2:1 before, now it's 3:2), this is the bane of all (mammal) life, because CO irreversibly binds to hemoglobin, destroying the hematocrit and rendering respiration impossible. To add insult to injury, CO is not detected by the body, at all. The safeties built into mammal respiration (such as the respiratory reflex) work on the basis of detecting CO2 saturation in the blood to produce the "we're asphyxiating" alarm. Since there's no CO2 anywhere in the blood (as it can't displace the CO already bound), there's "nothing to be worried about" as far as the body is concerned, and you'll die happily in your sleep. This happens, which is why civilisation and heating a room by burning gas in it are incompatible concepts.

    Moreover, this process should be a very good example of the pitfalls of security - after a lengthy process of evolution (which really is brute force engineering), the very advanced human body still has a major blind spot. It leaves you entirely defenseless to the threat presented by carbon monoxide, because the thing it measures (CO2-mediated blood acidity) is merely a proxy for the thing that interests you (functional respiration). There's no escape from this, you always measure some sort of proxy, which is why there's no space in reality for such a wonder as the universally secure system. []

  7. This, in a country which does in fact have gas piped into all houses - they don't use tanks for the stoves but proper gas lines.

    This, in a country which has absolutely no spare electric capacity, so much so that a good chunk of the generation is done by emergency diesel generators. It was supposed to be a temporary fix. It became permanent, like any bit of nigger rigging always ends up in places inhabited by retards - but Argentina no es un pais pobre. Because "recursos humanos". That's seriously what the sheep think.

    Meanwhile they spend close to a dollar to produce a kilowatt, which is utter outrage, unless you find yourself on the fucking Moon or in orbit or something. But then they turn around and sell that kilowatt to this population of Pilis at maybe 6% that cost. Derechos humanos, yo!

    They think this is sensible, to heat on electricity that they produced from gasoline in diesel generators bought for a huge premium from "Western" companies that specialize in leeching third world governments, with the gas lines ready to go, everywhere.

    They think this is sensible, to sell the population goods under production cost. Does this give that same population the wrong signals ? That's ok, not like this slow motion train wreck of a communist country cares about such nonsense as the signalling function of money. Such buitre nonsense don't apply to them, they didn't opt in you see! So they go visit God's blog every day to plead special case, and otherwise just run an ad campaigns on public funds to encourage people to "bla bla por todos". That'll do it. Problem ?

    Yes they are idiots, irredeemably. Which is why the final solution is not something that can be avoided. []

  8. 1880s technology, a bronze-nickel alloy with nickel close to 50%. It has very high electric resistence and excellent heat durability, for which reason pretty much all resistive electric heating happens on constantan strands. []
  9. Incidentally, they increased the bills recently, from ~6 to ~10% of the actual cost. People were scandalized!

    They didn't do anything, of course. But they were scandalized. Ok ?

    No, really, I visited out of my own curiosity a "meeting" that the rabid Peronist opposition organised, in the plaintive tones of "o noes, people that are human and therefore like us can't turn on the heat! come meet us to discuss, and to warm yourself on the warm breast of herding together personified!" They had this, honestly, and I went. You know what it was ?

    It was a tiny room, with a door to the street. The room was jam packed by about eleven people - you couldn't have fit a dog extra in there, it was about as full in its fullness as the empty emptiness of the thousands upon thousands of buses going around the city with no visible purpose other than creating traffic jams. (No, I'm not kidding, I've yet to see a bus at capacity here - they all spin around entirely devoid of bipedal life). A coupla dozen other idiots - in no manner distinct from any other random Argentine - milled about in the street. This was their meeting. Nothing more.

    I laughed at Romanians before for their sheer ineffectual derpitude, but this is a brand apart. These people wouldn't qualify as Romanians. Maybe if they ganged together as whole families and clans, each member doing just a small portion of what it takes to be one individual Romanian, like a sort of ant colonies aspiring to badgerdom by inhabiting a badger costume or something. Hardly, though. []

  10. See, he fixed the problem of the plastic one - now his item is going to be durable! That this comes at the expense of anything that item may come into contact with - why! that's not his problem!

    You see ? The capitalist found the externality, made his item certainly cheaper and arguably "better" at the expense of unknown things not in his charge. That part he got down pat. Actually being useful... well... maybe next year! []

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28 Responses

  1. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    A, forgot to mention : the text seen in the 5th image actually reads in its completeness :


    I believe it to be a fine example of that "industria argentina" thing, in all honesty.

  2. Da' la ce-ti trebuie dumitale heater in luna lui cuptor?

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Aici fiind cealalta homosfera, lumea merge cu capu'n jos cit si calare pe heater. Ma rog, Heather, da' tot acolo.

  4. Direct de la sursa in direct, din inima strazii in efect!!1!

    Es una empresa Argentina fundada en el año 1982 dedicada en sus
    primeros años a la producción a de accesorios para Cortadoras
    de césped y jardín atendiendo el mercado de mayoristas y fabricantes del sector .

    Desde el año 1988 comienza a producir Herramientas eléctricas
    para el corte y mantenimiento del cesped.

    Rapidamente sus novedosos diseños y adquisición de tecnología
    de punta para su estructura fabril le hacen ganar mercado en
    la Argentina y los países cercanos.

    En el año 1994 lanza una novedosa Bordeadora/aparador de
    Césped/grama electrica con la cual a traves de sus representantes logra
    una profunda penetración en el mercado de brasil.

    El comienzo del nuevo milenio encuentra a Famiel SA como referente
    indiscutido del rubro jardín en Argentina a traves de sus marcas y
    como el exportador de Bordeadoras/Orilladoras/Aparadoras electricas de
    de mayor volumen de ventas en Latinoamérica.

    TEL 0054-11-46991912
    FAX 0054-11-46991930

  5. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Nua sa muara Cici, si astia-s cel mai mare bun si primu' si-ar putea sa cumpere Apple cit si Rusia ?

    Prostu' tre' futut in cur. Cu trenu', atit rapid cit si accelerat.

  6. Sa nu uitam desarollo tangonet!

  7. The best part about that "COLOCAR MAS DE UN METRO DE OBJETOS COMBUSTIBLES" warning is the thing is on a cord that is significantly less than one meter long.

  8. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Ati fost avertizati. CUTOTII!

  9. Two carbon hydrocarbon is ethane. Butane has four carbons.

  10. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 17 July 2016

    Ah ah right you are. Fix't.

  11. lothrop.s`s avatar
    Monday, 18 July 2016

    You could use the ⁠ entity around IPA / characters to prevent the display engine from wrapping at those points.
    For example, na⁠/⁠&#x283;⁠/⁠ion
    It's fairly gross but should work.

  12. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 18 July 2016

    O hey this is actually a good point, huh.

  13. Braindamage`s avatar
    Saturday, 23 July 2016


  14. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Sunday, 24 July 2016

    Very nice, that's how I ended up getting the ball gag I wanted too : made to order.

    I'd buy three, but for cash. To what address do I send the girl ?

  15. Urlă toți politicienii că vine încălzirea globală și te-ai găsit taman tu să te plângi de frig. Apropo, credeam că trilionarii în Bitcoin se încălzesc în față șemineului stând pe blănuri fine.

  16. Braindamage`s avatar
    Friday, 12 August 2016

    If you're still into this getting made to order replacement parts for a $15 piece of shitty hardware, I think you can send the girl to this place.

    Paraná 4031, Martínez.
    De Lunes a Viernes de 8 a 12, y de 14 a 17hs.

    Phone nr is (011) 4700-0959 / 0941, mobile nr 1157252766 (Mr Ricardo Indures).

    I'm however not very confident that this will end well. Their website is made in Flash. I can't even see it.

  17. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 12 August 2016

    That's a ways out innit.

    Thanks for the info though!

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  10. [...] Yes, above ye olde Alte Oper, yet this'd then be the emblematic illustration of the Frankfurt left behind, the ruin that behind Frankfurt remains, representationally definitive and descriptively absolute. Observe the clear Argentine influences : 1. the undisturbed pichi encampment to the left, something in itself sufficient to degrade any would-be urban aglomeration to suburban statusii ; 2. the vehicle captive inside a building and finally, for the trifecta of perfection, power grid shenanigans. [...]

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